Job 18-21

January 26, 2024

Job 18

Then Bildad the Shuhite replied:
2 How long until you stop talking?
Show some sense, and then we can talk.
3 Why are we regarded as cattle,
as stupid in your sight?
4 You who tear yourself in anger —
should the earth be abandoned on your account,
or a rock be removed from its place?
5 Yes, the light of the wicked is extinguished;
the flame of his fire does not glow.
6 The light in his tent grows dark,
and the lamp beside him is put out.
7 His powerful stride is shortened,
and his own schemes trip him up.
8 For his own feet lead him into a net,
and he strays into its mesh.
9 A trap catches him by the heel;
a noose seizes him.
10 A rope lies hidden for him on the ground,
and a snare waits for him along the path.
11 Terrors frighten him on every side
and harass him at every step.
12 His strength is depleted;
disaster lies ready for him to stumble.
13 Parts of his skin are eaten away;
death’s firstborn consumes his limbs.
14 He is ripped from the security of his tent
and marched away to the king of terrors.
15 Nothing he owned remains in his tent.
Burning sulfur is scattered over his home.
16 His roots below dry up,
and his branches above wither away.
17 All memory of him perishes from the earth;
he has no name anywhere.
18 He is driven from light to darkness
and chased from the inhabited world.
19 He has no children or descendants among his people,
no survivor where he used to live.
20 Those in the west are appalled at his fate,
while those in the east tremble in horror.
21 Indeed, such is the dwelling of the unjust man,
and this is the place of the one who does not know God.

Job 19

Then Job answered:
2 How long will you torment me
and crush me with words?
3 You have humiliated me ten times now,
and you mistreat me without shame.
4 Even if it is true that I have sinned,
my mistake concerns only me.
5 If you really want to appear superior to me
and would use my disgrace as evidence against me,
6 then understand that it is God who has wronged me
and caught me in his net.
7 I cry out, “Violence! ” but get no response;
I call for help, but there is no justice.
8 He has blocked my way so that I cannot pass through;
he has veiled my paths with darkness.
9 He has stripped me of my honor
and removed the crown from my head.
10 He tears me down on every side so that I am ruined.
He uproots my hope like a tree.
11 His anger burns against me,
and he regards me as one of his enemies.
12 His troops advance together;
they construct a ramp against me
and camp around my tent.
13 He has removed my brothers from me;
my acquaintances have abandoned me.
14 My relatives stop coming by,
and my close friends have forgotten me.
15 My house guests and female servants regard me as a stranger;
I am a foreigner in their sight.
16 I call for my servant, but he does not answer,
even if I beg him with my own mouth.
17 My breath is offensive to my wife,
and my own family finds me repulsive.
18 Even young boys scorn me.
When I stand up, they mock me.
19 All of my best friends despise me,
and those I love have turned against me.
20 My skin and my flesh cling to my bones;
I have escaped with only the skin of my teeth.
21 Have mercy on me, my friends, have mercy,
for God’s hand has struck me.
22 Why do you persecute me as God does?
Will you never get enough of my flesh?
23 I wish that my words were written down,
that they were recorded on a scroll
24 or were inscribed in stone forever
by an iron stylus and lead!
25 But I know that my Redeemer lives,
and at the end he will stand on the dust.
26 Even after my skin has been destroyed,
yet I will see God in my flesh.
27 I will see him myself;
my eyes will look at him, and not as a stranger.
My heart longs within me.
28 If you say, “How will we pursue him,
since the root of the problem lies with him? ”
29 then be afraid of the sword,
because wrath brings punishment by the sword,
so that you may know there is a judgment.

Job 20

Then Zophar the Naamathite replied:
2 This is why my unsettling thoughts compel me to answer,
because I am upset!
3 I have heard a rebuke that insults me,
and my understanding makes me reply.
4 Don’t you know that ever since antiquity,
from the time a human was placed on earth,
5 the joy of the wicked has been brief
and the happiness of the godless has lasted only a moment?
6 Though his arrogance reaches heaven,
and his head touches the clouds,
7 he will vanish forever like his own dung.
Those who know him will ask, “Where is he? ”
8 He will fly away like a dream and never be found;
he will be chased away like a vision in the night.
9 The eye that saw him will see him no more,
and his household will no longer see him.
10 His children will beg from the poor,
for his own hands must give back his wealth.
11 His frame may be full of youthful vigor,
but it will lie down with him in dust.
12 Though evil tastes sweet in his mouth
and he conceals it under his tongue,
13 though he cherishes it and will not let it go
but keeps it in his mouth,
14 yet the food in his stomach turns
into cobras’ venom inside him.
15 He swallows wealth but must vomit it up;
God will force it from his stomach.
16 He will suck the poison of cobras;
a viper’s fangs will kill him.
17 He will not enjoy the streams,
the rivers flowing with honey and curds.
18 He must return the fruit of his labor without consuming it;
he doesn’t enjoy the profits from his trading.
19 For he oppressed and abandoned the poor;
he seized a house he did not build.
20 Because his appetite is never satisfied,
he does not let anything he desires escape.
21 Nothing is left for him to consume;
therefore, his prosperity will not last.
22 At the height of his success distress will come to him;
the full weight of misery will crush him.
23 When he fills his stomach,
God will send his burning anger against him,
raining it down on him while he is eating.
24 If he flees from an iron weapon,
an arrow from a bronze bow will pierce him.
25 He pulls it out of his back,
the flashing tip out of his liver.
Terrors come over him.
26 Total darkness is reserved for his treasures.
A fire unfanned by human hands will consume him;
it will feed on what is left in his tent.
27 The heavens will expose his iniquity,
and the earth will rise up against him.
28 The possessions in his house will be removed,
flowing away on the day of God’s anger.
29 This is the wicked person’s lot from God,
the inheritance God ordained for him.

Job 21

Then Job answered:
2 Pay close attention to my words;
let this be the consolation you offer.
3 Bear with me while I speak;
then after I have spoken, you may continue mocking.
4 As for me, is my complaint against a human being?
Then why shouldn’t I be impatient?
5 Look at me and shudder;
put your hand over your mouth.
6 When I think about it, I am terrified
and my body trembles in horror.
7 Why do the wicked continue to live,
growing old and becoming powerful?
8 Their children are established while they are still alive,
and their descendants, before their eyes.
9 Their homes are secure and free of fear;
no rod from God strikes them.
10 Their bulls breed without fail;
their cows calve and do not miscarry.
11 They let their little ones run around like lambs;
their children skip about,
12 singing to the tambourine and lyre
and rejoicing at the sound of the flute.
13 They spend their days in prosperity
and go down to Sheol in peace.
14 Yet they say to God, “Leave us alone!
We don’t want to know your ways.
15 Who is the Almighty, that we should serve him,
and what will we gain by pleading with him? ”
16 But their prosperity is not of their own doing.
The counsel of the wicked is far from me!
17 How often is the lamp of the wicked put out?
Does disaster come on them?
Does he apportion destruction in his anger?
18 Are they like straw before the wind,
like chaff a storm sweeps away?
19 God reserves a person’s punishment for his children.
Let God repay the person himself, so that he may know it.
20 Let his own eyes see his demise;
let him drink from the Almighty’s wrath!
21 For what does he care about his family once he is dead,
when the number of his months has run out?
22 Can anyone teach God knowledge,
since he judges the exalted ones?
23 One person dies in excellent health,
completely secure and at ease.
24 His body is well fed,
and his bones are full of marrow.
25 Yet another person dies with a bitter soul,
having never tasted prosperity.
26 But they both lie in the dust,
and worms cover them.
27 I know your thoughts very well,
the schemes by which you would wrong me.
28 For you say, “Where now is the nobleman’s house? ”
and “Where are the tents the wicked lived in? ”
29 Have you never consulted those who travel the roads?
Don’t you accept their reports?
30 Indeed, the evil person is spared from the day of disaster,
rescued from the day of wrath.
31 Who would denounce his behavior to his face?
Who would repay him for what he has done?
32 He is carried to the grave,
and someone keeps watch over his tomb.
33 The dirt on his grave is sweet to him.
Everyone follows behind him,
and those who go before him are without number.
34 So how can you offer me such futile comfort?
Your answers are deceptive.

— Job 18:1-21:34 (CSB)